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More than 10% of inmates test positive at BKCC

More than 10% of inmates at the Buckingham Correctional Center (BKCC) in Buckingham County have tested positive for the coronavirus.

As of Monday, Dec. 7, the Virginia Department of Corrections (VDOC) was reporting 117 active cases of the virus in its offender population with three active cases among staff members.

BKCC is dealing with its second-largest outbreak since the spring when the virus ran rampant throughout the correctional facility, infecting more than 80% of inmates and resulting in the death of four individuals.

The prison has had a total of 343 offenders test positive since the beginning of the pandemic.

On Friday, VDOC Deputy Director of Communications Gregory Carter said point prevalence testing was conducted on all 989 inmates and 262 staff members Nov. 13.

Carter said offenders who test positive for COVID-19 are placed in medical isolation where they are monitored by medical staff.

“Groups of COVID-19-positive offenders can be cohorted together in a housing unit separate from COVID-19-negative offenders,” he said.

Carter added no inmates are currently hospitalized with the virus.

It is currently unknown how the virus re-entered the facility and if any current COVID-positive inmates have caught the virus a second time.

Carter said Friday that in addition to isolating positive offenders, close contacts at the facility are quarantined for 14 days from the last known exposure, with twice daily symptom and temperature checks as directed by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Virginia Department of Health (VDH) guidelines.

Staff members who test positive for the coronavirus are required to self quarantine at home for 14 days and may return to work upon meeting criteria for ending home isolation.

Additionally, sneeze/ cough guard masks made by Virginia Correctional Enterprises are provided to each staff member and offender. Offenders are required to wear their face masks, according to Carter. Staff are required to wear either the provided mask or another form of personal protective equipment (PPE) face mask.

Carter said VDOC is prepared to follow VDH’s lead when it comes to the vaccination of staff and inmates.

The Dillwyn Correctional Center (DCC), also located in Buckingham County, was another facility hit hard by the coronavirus early on in the pandemic. Coronavirus cases of offenders at DCC topped 349, and two inmates died of the virus.

As of Monday, no active coronavirus cases were being reported out of DCC.